In response to some of the more hateful rhetoric in the current presidential campaign, Fifth Harmony singer Camila Cabello has written a moving essay about her experience immigrating to the United States.
Born in Havana, Cabello spent her early childhood between Cuba and Mexico City. She came to Miami from Mexico with her mother when she was 7 years old; her father joined them a year and a half later. Writing on PopSugar, Cabello recalls the strength and determination of her mother during their first years in the States:
My mom was a very good architect in Cuba, but when she came to America none of the degrees she earned in Cuba counted, so to make enough to keep us fed and put me into school she began stacking shoes in Marshalls and going to school at night to take courses in English, all while taking me to and from school and helping me with my homework all by herself, alone in a strange country. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must have been for her to have worked her whole life in architecture and then have it all erased when she came here.
Later, when her mother was offered an architecture job, Cabello explains that she taught herself to use AutoCAD in one week.
She learned fast because she literally had to in order to survive. Immigrants have one thing in common: Hunger. I don’t mean it literally, although that’s true, too, but metaphorically. The hunger to do the impossible because you have no choice, because you came too damn far, because you’ve known what struggling is, and you’re not going to take an opportunity for granted. The hunger and ability to win above people with better circumstances than you simply because you want it badly enough.
“I am so proud to be Cuban-Mexican,” Cabello writes. “This country was built on immigrants. People who were brave enough to start over. How strong we are to leave behind everything we know in hopes of something better.
“When I hear a bigoted, racist man with power and influence speak with anger and ill-will about immigrants, I think ‘what a fool,’” she writes.
You can read Cabello’s entire essay here.